New year, new novel, new look.
The November hell begins!!! *screaming*
I have such a wild/unrealistic concept this year that it took me 600 words just to plan out the first plot beat. No I am not counting that in my word count, and no I didn't even clear through that beat in this first section. I'm like half the way through it.
Much like last year's nanowrimo, I am experiencing a certain few anxieties. These voices in my head include: "you're writing too much dialogue!" "Your characters are all the same!" and "Why are you doing any of this?!"
But it's the first day and gosh darnit, I know those anxieties will fade away. Also editing exists. So much of this can be fixed with editing.
So, without further ado, my first crappy rough draft section. Enjoy.
UNTITLED MANUSCRIPT DRAFT:
The road trip, like many of their life’s activities, was unplanned. From proposition to execution, their two-car, eight-person, four-day trip, took all of two days. Finn and Heidi hadn’t seen Maria and Patrick for a couple of years, Finn and his friends hadn’t had a good outing in quite some time, the family as a whole hadn’t had a vacation since Finn was in high school, and Al didn’t really have much to say in the matter. So when Patrick’s invitation, which had been inexplicably delayed in the mail for several weeks, arrived, it wasn’t long before the party of eight buckled into their two-car caravan and set out on their way.
“I still don’t think this is a good idea,” said Al, driving the car. “What if something happens and nobody can reach us?”
Finn was seated directly behind Al, so he couldn’t see much of his face, but from his tone of voice he could imagine what it looked like. For the past two weeks Al had been the macho version of a nervous wreck.
“That’s why we’re throwing so much money at the wedding planner, Al,” said Heidi.
Heidi glanced at Al and back at the road. The road turned left towards the sun, and Heidi pulled down her and Al’s sun visors.
“Everyone doing okay back there?” Heidi asked.
Finn and Grant both grunted in confirmation. They were three hours into a five-ish hour drive, so while they were beginning to get uncomfortable, their phones still clinging onto the last bits of power. Grant, whose phone had terrible service on most road trips, was leaning over to stare at Finn’s phone at an angle that would make a chiropractor displeased, but Finn glad for the attention. Finn’s phone flashed the ten percent warning, that for his phone was more of a “death is imminent” warning.
“What percent are you at, Al?” Finn asked.
“Full power,” Al replied.
Finn made to grab for the cord but was shoed away by his mother’s hand.
“His phone’s the GPS. GPS gets the cord,” she said.
“You can charge your phone when we get there,” Al added sympathetically.
Finn caught a glimpse of Heidi’s face in the visor mirror, which made a pained expression of, “oh yikes, I am unable to confirm nor deny that statement.”
“And if there are no chargers, then we’ll have a no-phone weekend which I hear is the first step to wellness,” said Heidi in a forced chipper voice.
Al made the choked plosive sound of a man who had a deep voice and only ever been glamping.
“I thought we had a cabin or something,” Al said, successfully dampening the wavers that might have appeared in his voice, but not the urgent speed in his delivery. “Weren’t we supposed to be put up in a cabin?”
“That’s definitely a possibility…” said Heidi, staring not through the car window, but at her reflection in it. She wondered if she would sunburn from this direct of sunlight.
“I thought Patrick ran the festival?”
“He does indeed run the festival.”
“And he can’t put us up in a cabin?”
“He probably can… if there are cabins…”
Grant smiled at Finn and observed the scene as if at a zoo. He and Finn had been dating since their senior year of college and the two or so years following, so he knew a good amount of Finn’s family tree and dynamic, but a lot of it existed in his memory more as disjointed lily pads in a pond than a single rooted oak in a forest if you will.
“Which one is Patrick?” Grant whispered, fixing his eyes back onto Finn’s Twitter feed which was refusing to refresh in what was becoming increasingly clear a dead zone.
“Mom’s boyfriend from when I was in like third grade through the summer between middle and high school, I want to say,” Finn replied.
Grant nodded dumbly and let his head sag back down while Heidi and Al continued their squabble.
“So we don’t know where we’ll be sleeping?”
“Nicki brought her giant ten-person tent in case we need it.”
Grant turned back to Finn.
“And which one is Nicki?”
“One of Mom’s work friends. She’s in the other car.”
Midway through Al’s insistence that there wasn’t a tent in the world large enough to ensure the privacy of eight people, his phone rang. His phone was also connected to the car’s speaker system, so it did that thing where it blasted at twice the volume that the music—or in Al’s case, sports radio—was playing and made everyone in the car jump. That combined with the sun in their faces and the sudden disappearance of the GPS roadmap made Al swerve erratically and recorrect. Grant grabbed the side of his seat, and Finn held onto his phone with maternal energy.
Heidi yanked the aux cord out of the phone and answered the call. Al sat silently in shock. Finn and Grant sat in shock, but from the back seat. The three listened in on the one-sided call.
“Hello, this is Heidi on Al’s phone … Mh-mmm … Yes … Right … Oh, really? … All four of them? … Okay … What about our other options on the list? … Right … Okay, I’ll see what I can do, thank you.”
Heidi carefully placed Al’s phone back in the GPS stand and plugged it back in. She spoke no words and silently turned back on Al’s sports radio. The four listened to a local ad for storm-damaged used vehicles before Al spoke.
“And what was that about?”
“Well…” Heidi started. “Remember the band we were going to have play at the wedding?”
“Please don’t say what I think you’re going to say.”
“They can’t do it anymore.”
Al spitted out a choice few swear words, fortunately without swerving the car this time. Heidi calmly explained that the entire band had gotten strep throat at the same time and wouldn’t be able to perform. Finn thought about the time he had gotten strep throat in high school. Grant thought about the time he had gotten strep throat in college. Al thought about the time Finn had gotten strep throat in high school. Nobody’s thoughts were very great because strep throat is awful.
“Can’t they just push through it?” Al asked, quarter-heartedly.
“Their singer is out of commission, and I don’t think our guests would take kindly to a bio hazard at the wedding.”
“You could put up a big piece of plastic or something?” Finn offered and was ignored.
“See this is exactly why I said we shouldn’t be doing this so close to the wedding. It’s not too late to turn around,” Al said.
“We’ve got two hours to go; it’d be three hours back. We’re not turning around now, Al.”
The two continued to bicker as Finn’s phone tragically passed away. He and Grant took to staring out the window at the proverbial rise and fall of the telephone wire, the small farms, the big farms, and the truly endless fields of corn. Before either of them were able to fall into a place of piece, Finn and Grant were brought back into the moment by the call of their names.
“Finn, Grant, do either of you have any friends that do music?”
Finn and Grant exchanged looks.
“What kind of vibe?” Grant asked.
“What do you have?” Heidi replied.
“Well, Francine was in show choir in college,” Grant offered.
“And I know Darian went through a Garage Band phase,” Finn added.
“Oh, he’s still doing that. He’s like, super active on SoundCloud,” said Finn.
“Really? Good for him.”
Heidi started to smile in anticipation and was quashed by Grant’s explanation that Darian’s work was strictly ambient chillwave. It was quality ambient chillwave, but not wedding appropriate ambient chillwave. The more failed options the two offered up, the more it seemed like Al was going to legitimately turn the car around.
“Um, doesn’t Rebecca Fielder do trombone professionally now?” Grant asked Finn. “And Angel Young just graduated with a Master’s of Music in Voice Performance. She does a lot of opera these days.”
“Wait, wait!” Finn said loudly, causing yet another micro-deviation from Al’s straight-forward driving. “Stephanie and Nicki!”
“They’re in the other car,” Al said.
“I know that, but don’t they have a music group?”
Heidi racked her own brain. The two were definitely musical people, hence their willingness to drop everything to go to a music festival on such short notice.
“They have a comedy show, but they’re not musicians, really,” Heidi said.
“It has musical elements,” Finn said. “Plus they’re coming to the wedding anyway.”
Heidi paused the sports radio and called the other car with the audio still connected. Stephanie answered, her booming voice filling the car.
“Hey guys! How’s your car doing? Have you named your car yet? We voted to name ours the ‘Cool Car’, and by voted I mean that I decided by myself because this is a dictatorship because I’m driving. Hah! I’m the queen! How’s it going?”
“Hi Stephanie!” Finn shouted towards the phone.
“Hi Stephanie!” Grant repeated, not knowing who Stephanie was.
“Hello little ones!” Stephanie shouted back. “I’ve decided that your car is the ‘Loser Car’ because ours is the ‘Cool Car.’ I know I’m not driving your car, so I probably shouldn’t be able to make that decision, but a queen’s power knows no bounds. Do you feel me? I feel me. This car is full of oats.”
Heidi waited for a break in Stephanie’s speech and spoke.
“I was wondering if you and Nicki still have that music group?”
“Well it’s more of an award winning two-woman comedy duo than a music group,” Stephanie said.
“Though it does have musical elements,” Nicki’s voice chimed in. “Why do you ask?”
Heidi explained the situation and, to the relief of Heidi and Al, Stephanie and Nicki were more than happy to perform.
“I can’t promise it’ll be perfect, but we can definitely throw a set together for you all,” Stephanie said. “I’ll do guitar, Stephanie’ll do keyboard, and we’ll try to keep the prat falls to a minimum.”
Heidi smiled in relief and turned to Al happily, a reaction that doesn’t really transmit over phone, which she realized and delivered a rushed, “Thank you two so much. We’ll pay you and everything.”